SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE 3/25: Cyborg clears path for UFC Featherweight Women’s Title shot, vacates Invicta title (w/Keller’s Analysis)

By Wade Keller, MMATorch editor

Cris Cyborg (photo credit Jason Silva © USA Today Sports)

Cris Cyborg has vacated her Ivicta FC Championship and has declared her desire to become the UFC Featherweight Women’s Champion. In a video message last night, she issued a challenge to Germaine de Randamie. She wants a fight at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif.

“I’m healthy now and I’m strong and I really want to show my fans why I’m still ten years undefeated at 145 pounds,” she said. “After my two fights in Brazil, I would like to fight in the USA for my fans from here that could not go to Brazil to watch the fight and enjoy the time. July 29, UFC will be in south California and I would like to fight in my backyard in America in Anaheim, California. So Germaine, I hope your hand’s healthy enough to accept my challenge.”

The reference to De Randamie’s hand is prompted by De Randamie saying she needed to undergo hand surgery to repair an injury suffered actually prior to her previous fight, a victory over Holly Holm.

She explained her decision to vacate her Invicta FC championship. “I’m vacating my belt at 145 pounds in Invicta FC,” he said. “This decision [does not] come too easy. In 2013, [Invicta FC president] Shannon Knapp invite me to support her league of all women, Invicta FC and I’m already no. 1 in the world and I had wins over Gina Carano and Marloes Coenen. When I signed with Invicta, I wanted to help for we can prove the women can be the real fighters and they can play combat sports. Like me, like Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Amanda Nunes and all the women in the cage now just prove it. Invicta has the best women’s fighters in the world. I want to say thank you for Shannon Knapp for believing in all of the women. If you don’t believe in us, probably we’d never be in the UFC one day.”

Keller’s Analysis: UFC badly needs some marquee fights. As I wrote about last night, instead of creating new stars, they’re busy undercutting the credibility of championships by bypassing deserving contenders and putting together “super fights” or they’re watering down championships with excessive interim titles. Having Cyborg go all-in with UFC gives UFC a much needed established star who, hopefully, will be willing and able to fight on a regular basis. It’s up to Cyborg to stay clean of any USADA issues and try to stay injury-free. 

Does Cris Cyborg have a chance to become a bigger PPV draw than Ronda Rousey in UFC?

 
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SATURDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS

-On UFC Tonight on FS1 this week, Tyron Woodley said Jimi Manuwa became a serious name in the UFC Light Heavyweight Division with his victory last weekend. “Manuwa put the division on notice. It shows his IQ. Everyone knows he has a crazy left hook, but throws it from different directions and that’s how he was able to land it.”

-This week, the MMATorch team has discussed in the Roundtable section whether a Legends Division would be good for UFC and MMA fans. Kenny Florian said on FS1’s “UFC Tonight” indicated there’s no need for a separate division; you can still book the same fights. “If you just match up fighters appropriately, it would solve the problem. Match up Vitor vs. Anderson Silva, according to their age and experience. That would take care of it.”

-Conor McGregor is taking boxing classes, and you can watch footage, courtesy of The Mirror HERE. Article excerpt: ”

The Notorious’ coach John Kavanagh captured the clip at Straight Blast Gym and posted it on Instagram. Kavanagh wrote: ‘One of our fighters taking the boxing class today.’ Last week McGregor reached a settlement with the Nevada Commission over his UFC 202 fine – paving the way for him to be granted a boxing license to face Mayweather.”


NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/24: Rockhold predicts GSP won’t defend against top Middlweights if he wins title, says “this isn’t WWE” (w/Keller’s Analysis)

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